Joke Dar Joke, a Pakistani show, joked about domestic violence, and that’s definitely not okay.
In light of the recent allegations towards people at the forefront of our media industry, one would have thought it was pretty obvious that domestic violence is no joking matter. However, Joke Dar Joke on GNN came out with a segment yesterday and I’m appalled at the fact that it was allowed to be uploaded and presented to an audience.
The segment starts out with the host Hina Niazi questioning a man, who happens to be a part of the Pakistani media industry, about his wife and why he could conduct domestic violence on his wife. He answers by saying people from social media are quick to recognize his work and call him the country’s representation, but as soon as a personal matter comes up it is spread like wildfire.
In the segment, the husband claims he hit his wife, who is in his nikkah. In his eyes, she is his to do whatever he pleases because they are married and he has a right to do so. He also mentions how people on social media only listen to one side of the story and drag along the person whose side they have not heard.
Listening to both sides of the story is important and crucial to understanding what is going on, but to accept the fact that you raised your hand on your wife and trying to dismiss, trivialize and justify by saying that she is your wife is not okay. This is not a good way to present the issue since it encourages people who participate in domestic violence to use this reasoning and excuse.
The wife on the segment shares her side of the story and talks about how her husband is so romantic and charming in movies, but at home, he hurts her.
In the middle of her sharing her story, he chimes in to say how she got hurt when she fell off the stairs. Also the actor playing the role of the husband stops her statement to throw in a joke.
Often comedians use comedic relief, but this was going too far, especially since the ‘victim’ was trying to give her statement. It can act as an accurate depiction of our society when victims are trying to tell their story and it’s not being heard.
An actor from the panel makes a good point at this part of the video.
The actor mentions how this isn’t love, since there is violence involved. If it were love, the violence would not be of their relationship. The artist who is inflicting the pain on his wife tries to reason, but ultimately someone from the panel explains how the artist is a representation of Pakistan and should bring positivity. If the relationship is/was rocky, it should be dealt with in a better manner. This is a good solution presented in the segment, but this possible solution does not make up for other problematic scenes in the segment.
Right after this part, one of the guys in the panel makes an inappropriate joke about how the guy beat his wife.
For a few laughs, this segment took away the importance of victims having a voice and sharing their stories and struggles. It was completely uncalled for and just outright distasteful. If you want to make jokes and be funny, choose an appropriate topic. The angle may have been to lighten the atmosphere and present this matter in a not-so-serious manner, but matters like these should not at any cost be presented this way.
Also, another person from the panel bases the fact she got beat on the way she expresses herself. Like I said before, even if there was no intention to do so, this segment is creating excuses for victims to be treated in this manner, which is inhumane.
A man from the panel also asks the victim to fix her face while she speaks. This is again an example of trying to add in comedic relief to a serious situation, which is inappropriate. Listening to what the victim has to say and what they suffered through is part of the battle the victim faces, and this ridicules that.
The segment also discusses gender roles and the lack of inequality that is still present in our society.
In the segment, the victim mentions she used to be a great actress and was well-known and loved. Her life changed after she got married since her abuser and husband believed it was his job to bring food to the table and provide for the family.
The abuser puts the fault on his wife and says how it is her fault for what happened. From her suspicions of extramarital affairs to the way she speaks, she was “asking” to be abused. He then gets up from his seat to hit her, which is when the panel and host tell him to stop. Right after that, he admits it was only his fault and someone from the panel makes another inappropriate joke. The guy says if the artist makes this mistake again, the “most-maulvi-looking” guy from the panel should just take the victim home.
I…don’t even understand. How is any of this funny?
While the host and the actors involved in the segment were probably trying to create awareness around this serious matter, I still believe it could have been presented in a better manner.
Incorporating a serious topic into their segment does sound like a good idea and helps to diversify the people that are being made aware of these situations. However, the jokes and laughs were uncalled for and dismissive of the movement people have created in Pakistan.
Watch the entire segment here from 22:23-32:11
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image via Youtube/@gnnhdofficial